Oskar Santos, photo courtesy of Jose Haro
Oskar Santos is still a huge fan of the movies he grew up on, like The Goonies, Back to the Future and ET.
Paying homage to '80s classics, he took thousands of kids on an adventure during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival with his successful Spanish film, Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang, part of the first Sundance Kids section.
Read our review of the film here.
Based on comic characters, brothers Zip and Zap go to a boarding school where play isn't allowed. Headmaster Falconetti's motto: "Play breeds foolishness, and work breeds righteousness." But the boys play anyway when they meet fellow mischief makers Filo and Micro and dub themselves The Marble Gang. They're later joined by Falconetti's niece Matilda and go on an adventure to find treasure left by the school's original, fun headmaster.
We chatted with Santos about his inspiration and Sundance experience:
Tell us a bit more about your inspiration.
“Back to the Future, The Goonies, all of the Indiana Jones movies and ET—all of those movies of the '80s were a very big inspiration for me to make this movie. I'm very fond of that kind of movie, and I don't understand why in this year we don't see more adventure movies like all of those.”
Zip & Zap is huge in Spain. What do you think made it so big?
“I think that the movie connected with kids. When I started production, many friends who are directors in Spain told me they had doubts about the kids right now connecting with this kind of movie, because everybody thinks that cinema always changes. But for me, the spirit of the movies of the '80s is not dead . . . You make a good story for kids with a current adventure and good characters, and I don't think that's going to change. In Spain, we have been very successful. We were the number one movie in our language last year. The kids really love the movie, so we are very happy.”
Photo courtesy of Jose Haro
Did you put any of your own childhood into the film?
“There is something of my childhood. For example, one of the kids, Filo, was the name of one of my friends during my childhood. Zip and Zap had something to remember my relationship with my brother, who's two years older than me. All of these little elements of your life, you put in the movies.”
We loved the villain of the film, Falconetti.
“I suppose there's too much of this type of men in the world—people who hate everything, who hated their childhood. The problem with Falconetti is when he was a boy, his childhood was stolen, so right now, he's trying to do the same thing to the kids. We need less of this sort of thing in the world.”
Now that you've done one kids movie, do you have plans for any others?
“We have the intention to make a sequel. But that depends on a lot of things. Right now in Spain, the market is not very good and this movie had a $5 million budget, which isn't a big time budget in the US, but in Spain, it's a lot of money. So as soon as the market improves, maybe we can do a second one. But I love all kinds of movies; some of my favorites are thrillers, and I want to make a horror movie. But if I have an opportunity to make another movie for kids with a good story, even a sequel, I have no doubt I'll do it.”
Do you have kids to show this movie?
“My sister has a boy, and I'd be very happy to show him, but he's only 2 and he won't be able to understand the movie. One day, I hope he likes it.”
“I just want to give thanks to the Sundance Film Festival and the Sundance Kids section and all the kids in Salt Lake City, Ogden and Park City, who watched the movie and I hope they're very happy with it. And maybe, we can come again with another Zip & Zap movie. Who knows?”